A sub-committee of Parliament’s Communications portfolio committee has started the process of interviewing 37 shortlisted candidates for the new SABC Board members. This, as the term of the current board comes to an end on the 15th of October.
37 candidates are shortlisted from a list of 120 nominees from which a board of 12 members will emerge.
Three current board members were interviewed first. They were grilled about the broadcaster’s finances, last year’s retrenchment process and the sacking of the former head of News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni.
The deputy chairperson of the board, Mamudupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, was asked about a forensic report at the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority that had damning findings against her, as well as allegations that she has moonlighted for a telecommunications company while working at ICASA. This is how she responded.
“These allegations highly improper will write to HRC and Gender Commission as black woman executive being treated differently. Even people on that board have findings against them and it has never been made public. In my case, it’s worse because I was not given the opportunity to respond,” defends Mohlala-Mulaudzi.
Another current member of the board, David Maimela, defended the retrenchment of more than 600 staffers last year, while close to 400 posts are now being advertised.
“Still think this was a rational decision. Many people misunderstand this but you can retrench and advertise again, because its new operating model, need new skills, nothing wrong. It helps you to be more agile, more capable, understand the industry better and compete better,” says Maimela.
But judging the success of the retrenchment process needs more time, according to Jack Phalane.
“Our expenses are high, the biggest cost was salaries, after retrenchments…its key to say we have the structure we believe is good. For me, based on that moved to the next gear is this working or not… now it’s implementation time… makes no sense to release experienced people and then replace them with people who don’t know what they’re doing. Are people we have, doing what they are supposed to be doing,” says Phalane.
After concluding the process of interviews, the names of the successful candidates will be tabled in Parliament and then sent to the President for an appointment.
VIDEO: SABC board candidates interviews